How To Break Up With Parental Baggage

By YourTango

How To Break Up With Parental Baggage
Five steps to making our parents' relationship residue work for us.

GL: What do you say to the idea that we all have to stop blaming our parents at some point?

EJL: Great question and part of why I wrote the book. I think it's easy to look at some of the messages out there & get really frustrated and feel like you're damaged goods. This can be self-fulfilling, in some ways and why I made a step-by-step guide to overcoming effects of divorce and to find a "dividend." The idea is that you can take control of this, find a silver lining and you can, like so many other people whose parents divorced, have really happy relationships and a happy life. Not that having divorced parents is easy and not that there are dynamics of it that are going to disappear. You're still going to have to navigate two sets of parents, etc.

GL: What advice would you give to a patient who feels his/her parents' divorce is affecting the happiness of his/her own relationship?

EJL: First, I'd have you take the survey thatâ's in the book. All of my participants took it. For example, it asks "How did your parents' divorce affect you as a child?" "What did you learn about marriage from your grandparents" and if either of your parents have re-married, if they're happy, etc.. Then have you talk to your parents, if they're capable of that. Ask them a set of questions separately about their marriage and divorce. And, if your grandparents are still living, I'd encourage you to ask them similar questions about their relationships. If you can't speak with any of those people, I would encourage you to find a family friend/relative to ask them to. It's about getting a more adult perspective on your parents breakup.

GL: Do we tend to hold onto the view we formed when we it happened?

EJL: We can. Even if our view changes, it can be colored from a child's perspective and I think there are great conversations you can have with the adults in your life that can give you a different perspective.

Then, I encourage people to look at how divorce affected them as a child & how it does as an adult. That's the second step.